Effort Upon Effort: Japanese Influences in Western First-Person Shooters


A ludological thesis that explores the history and examples of American-made first-person shooters inspired by Japanese history and (pop) culture.

Paper is available for reading via URL below.

This paper takes an extensive look at two Western-made first-person shooters, Shogo: Mobile Armor Division and F.E.A.R.: First Encounter Assault Recon, which successfully transplant Japanese cultural elements into their design.

Shogo manages to capture the essence of mecha anime by seamlessly blending the man-machine bond characteristic of Japanese mechs with the first-person perspective, enabling players to ‘become’ the pilot/robot and fully immerse themselves into an anime experience. F.E.A.R. embodies the mystery and sense of psychological vulnerability of Japanese horror films by making use of dark, dreary environments and chilling sound effects to heighten the atmospheric tension.

The author argues that Japanese-influenced first-person shooters can make for riveting and engrossing experiences when Eastern cultural elements and Western game mechanics are harmoniously mixed.

The paper was later adapted into a speech given at the Canadian Game Studies Association Conference in Toronto on May 31, 2017. A video is available on this page and via a URL.

Table of contents in the URL can be clicked on to jump to the selected section of the thesis.